Hanshin Signs Mets’ 3B Campbell

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Hanshin announced on December 2nd that New York Mets infielder Eric Campbell (29) has signed a contract with the team for 2017. The righty is 191 centimeters (6’3″) tall and weighs 98 kilograms (215 lbs). He will wear number 29.

Campbell made his MLB debut in 2014, and this season hit just .173 and 1 HR and 9 RBIs in 40 games (75 plate appearances). His major league career numbers are a .221 average, 7 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Through a club official, this is what he had to say: “I’ve spent the last two seasons bouncing between the majors and minors, so I was interested in playing ball in Japan. I faced some Japanese pitchers in the majors and I also think I have an idea of how high the level of play is over in Japan. The international scout has told me about how much hitting practice is done during spring training, and that I need to get my body ready for the adjustments I’ll need to make. And I’m ready to hear advice so that I can adjust not only to the game, but to the entire system. I’m prepared to give my all in Japan next year.”

In other news, pitcher Roman Mendez (26), acquired on November 27, will wear number 20.

T-Ray’s Take: I have read a few articles about Campbell and have also listened to some analyses. First, the positives. At the start of the 2015 season, when replacing an injured David Wright at 3B, he reached base in 10 consecutive games and played solid defense. Wright himself had high praise for Campbell. Also, Campbell finished the 2015 season with the second best well-hit ball percentage on the Mets team, despite having a low batting average to show for it. What’s more, when he was optioned to the minors at one point, the whole team was kind of sad to see him go, so it seems as though he is a good team player. In his career in the minors, Campbell hit .322, which is pretty solid numbers. On the negative side… his career average in the bigs is just .221 and he definitely does not appear to be a power hitter. Home runs do not come easy at Koshien, so if he couldn’t mash on the minor league circuit, I kind of doubt he will be able to adequately replace the 22 home runs we lost when Mauro Gomez was set free. The other concern I have is that the club was pretty impatient with Matt Hague, and these two seem to have similar qualities: play the hot corner, hit for high average but low-to-mid power. Will they give Campbell a proper shake? They sure didn’t give one to Hague.

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.